The Right Decision On The Wrong Call
So 24 hours later here's what we know: Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga got hosed out of a perfect game. Umpire Jim Joyce completely blew the call. To his credit, for what it's worth, Joyce apologized in a rare moment of humility by an ump. Today Commissioner Bud Selig said there would be no overturning the call and thus no perfect game.
And what we all should know by now is that Selig made the right call.
Oh there's no doubt it's an unpopular move. Galarraga will likely never come that close to another perfect game but the reality is the moment has passed. There would be no historic moment for the crowd at Comerica Park. There would be no on-field mobbing of Galarraga by his teammates. Had Selig overturned the call history would've been made but when history is made the day after it actually happens, well, it just doesn't feel the same.
The real issue though is that it opens up a huge can of worms and sets a dangerous precedence for the future in which any controversial call may be overturned at the commissioner's discretion if the general public is up in arms enough. What else could Selig overturn? First on the list, as any hardcore fan will tell you, would be Game Six of the 1985 World Series when a horrible blown call likely cost St. Louis the title. More recently was the one game playoff between San Diego and Colorado in 2007, won by the Rockies when Matt Holliday scored the winning run on the final play. But did Holliday actually touch the plate? It certainly is debatable (by the way, did anyone else notice that was that Trevor Hoffman blowing the save?) If Selig were to overturn the imperfect game why not overturn the Rockies tiebreaking win? Remember, Colorado went to the World Series that year. So does the 2007 World Series not even count then? Does that create a whole new curse for the champion Boston Red Sox? That, ladies and gentlemen, would be what Bill Murray once called "mass hysteria."
So now the debate is should Major League Baseball expand replay to include close calls like the one we saw Wednesday night. I'm not in favor of it mainly because this was a once-per-century occurrence. Honestly, when was the last time a perfect game was broken up after 26 outs due to a bad call by the ump? I've never been a fan of knee-jerk reactions but as noted above there are some high profile cases of bad calls that altered the playoffs. You can bet if something like this happens in October MLB will act accordingly. We've been robbed of history and that's pretty embarrassing for the Majors but for now we'll all just have to settle for a heartfelt apology and a measured response from Selig.